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by reading the 29th and 30th verses of the xth of Mark, we find a promise made by Christ to those who do certain things, shall have in the world to come eternal life and in another place, Christ says, "the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works." Why did St. Peter say to those who had obtained precious faith, add to your faith virtue? Simon Magus was baptized and believed, that is, had faith, but his heart was not right in the sight of God, and he was in the gall of bitterness; his faith profited him nothing: Judas Iscariot had faith, but was in heart a devil. These, with innumerable other inconsistencies and inexplicable difficulties, are removed by the construction before stated of St. Paul's intention by the expressions he has used: and we should at all times, in putting a construction upon the writings of the New Testament, and of St. Paul's epistles in particular, to get at their true sense, bear in mind the times when they were written, the principles professed, the bigotry of the Jews in religious matters, and the notions they had of works, that "When the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive "." We may find that
b Ezekiel xviii. 27.
works were by them all in all; because although faith or belief in God was always as much a necessary part of true religion, as it is at the present time, yet it was not deemed necessary to inculcate or enforce faith by express words, as the Jews did works, holding works sufficient testimonials of their faith: but how different was the case with Christ and his Apostles! A new religion was to be established by them, and a new faith to be preached and propagated, to be the foundation upon which the whole of this new religion was to depend, shews the cause and ground of St. Paul treating so generally and fully of faith in Christ in all he said or wrote, always having in view the indispensable necessity of faith, which might be said to be almost the sum and substance of the religion he was propagating; but at the same time, although the Apostle had to correct many errors the Jews had fallen into, and to abolish useless ceremonies, he did not lose sight of good works, that is, the law and commandment of God, which Christ complained the Scribes and Pharisees had transgressed, and made of none effect by their tradition'. St. Paul in the most express and emphatic manner says, Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to them who believed, and by
i Matt. xv. 3. 6.
the righteousness of Christ, the righteousness of the law was established and perfected. Is there any thing marvellous, or even extraordinary, that St. Paul should have used the figure before alluded to, (we see St. James did the same, and Christ also when he said, "by thy words thou shalt be justified,") and say that faith in Christ is now our justification, which neither Jews nor Gentiles before had any knowledge or conception of, and to be a sine qua non in justification to those who had the Gospel preached to them, and very different from the notions the Jews had of justification by works? They well knew all men by the fall were tainted from that time with its effect, and works were by them held to be the way of salvation. Their Prophets did not set forth faith as the prominent feature of their religion, knowing that every Jew in heart was a believer in God. We then see this construction of St. Paul's intention from his words, that man is justified by faith, was to make faith an indispensable condition of justification. This construction has not only facts, but the strongest argument in point of reason for its support, and removes numberless inconsistencies and difficulties, not only with respect to St. Paul himself, but other writers in Scripture, and which no other construction, either from facts or reasonable argument can effect. In truth it is the re
conciler of St. Paul to himself. This construction does not affect the other construction, that St. Paul might also intend faith should be the sole instrument in the act of justification; they may exist together without producing any inconsistency; but when the Calvinist uses the words, that justification is by faith alone, he means and intends it should be so understood, and exclusive of all works; and applies faith to man, and not as the sole instrument used by God, which makes his language, as shewn above, perfectly anti-scriptural. But it must never be forgotten, although it may be the sole instrument, yet that faith, which is qualified to be the sole instrument, is not alone in the man who possesses it*, and consequently as man's faith must be accompanied with works, faith is not, and cannot be alone in the man who is justified. This must be the scriptural solution of St. Paul's doctrine of justification by faith, and all others must be unscriptural, if not anti-scriptural.
Under this head many texts of Scripture have been quoted, and fully discussed, not partially on one side of the question, but on both sides.
Even Mr. Scott has plainly stated, that faith is not alone in the man who is saved; his words are, though not a faith which is solitary or alone in him who is saved." Rem. vol. i,
It may be then fairly asked, whether, after fully weighing and considering those texts of Scripture, and the arguments upon them, can there be a doubt in the mind of any unprejudiced person upon the question, whether faith alone justifies or not? The tenet of justification by faith alone is so contradictory and inconsistent with Scripture, and would wholly render so many parts nugatory and superfluous, that it might be said to make void the Scriptures, instead of having been written to support and confirm them. It has most plainly been shewn, not only that works as well as faith are necessary for justification, but distinctly what those works are which are indispensable for man to possess; this has been proved not by one writer only in Scripture, but it may be truly asserted, that there have been such a cloud of witnesses, if such testimony is to have its due weight and effect, that any further words or argument which might be used, would be shewing it is light at noon day. There is not a single writer, either in the Old or New Testament, who has stated that holiness and true righteousness have not always been acceptable to God; but, on the contrary, in some way, either by direct words, or those which constructively shew, that they are unfailing means by which man can please, or expect to be approved or received by his God.